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Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Pediatric)

What is systemic lupus erythematosus?

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects almost any part of the body, including joints, kidneys and other organs, skin, blood and brain. This condition occurs when antibodies attack a person's own tissues and organs.

What are the symptoms of systemic lupus erythematosus?

Common symptoms are joint pain, rash, fever, photosensitivity, enlarged lymph nodes and weight loss.

How is systemic lupus erythematosus diagnosed?

Lupus is diagnosed following observation of some of the many symptoms, and through lab testing.  The lab testing may include measurement of abnormal levels of antinuclear antibodies and other autoantibodies.

What is the treatment for systemic lupus erythematosus?

Frequent monitoring and visits with a pediatric rheumatologist are important. While there is no cure for lupus, many treatments help to manage symptoms and reduce complications. They are:

  • Corticosteroids
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs such as hydroxychloroquine
  • Specific inhibitors of soluble B-lymphocyte stimulator cytokine
  • Immunosuppressive agents/chemotherapy such as azathioprine, mycophenolate, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab to suppress the immune system, especially in advanced cases